Fireworks come with many risks if not used properly, including injury and fires. Many of these dangers can be avoided by taking appropriate steps to prepare for emergencies and using fireworks safely. Always follow directions and safety recommendations closely, and read these tips to learn what else you can do to prevent firework-related accidents.
Make a Plan
Have a plan for how to handle your fireworks. Use them only in a clear space away from buildings, trees, or other flammable objects. Have a fire extinguisher on hand or a source of water, such as a hose or full bucket. If necessary wet down surrounding areas to prevent sparks from igniting the surrounding brush. Use appropriate safety equipment, such as gloves and safety goggles to protect you from burns when igniting fireworks. Plan to wait to drink alcohol until after you are finished with the fireworks.
Check Your Insurance
Before you light the first wick, you should also check that your homeowner’s insurance is up-to-date and will provide coverage. Coverage for fires resulting from fireworks can vary. Some policies may not cover fireworks, while others may only cover specific instances. Illegal fireworks typically won’t be covered, but a stray spark igniting the leaves in your gutter may be covered. Learn the details of your policy before you plan to launch fireworks.
Only Use Fireworks in Appropriate Conditions
Fireworks should only be launched from a hard, clear, level surface to prevent tipping. Keep flammable objects and spectators away from the launch site. Launch only when the prevailing winds blow away from the people watching to keep fireworks from falling on them. If you must, wait to launch until the wind calms. Do not launch fireworks from locations that have brush, trees, buildings, or other fire hazards nearby. Never launch fireworks into containers, including bottles.
Store Fireworks Properly
Store fireworks in a cool, dark, dry location that is away from buildings or other flammable materials. Never keep them inside, and do not store them in bulk. Keep them out of reach of children and pets, as well. Never carry fireworks, firecrackers, sparklers, or other similar devices in a pocket.
When you are storing and disposing of fireworks, follow local laws. Used fireworks can still ignite if exposed to heat. To prevent accidents, thoroughly soak used fireworks in water and store them in a sealed metal trash can. This can prevent stray sparks or other sources of heat from igniting used fireworks and causing an accident.
Never Use Damaged Fireworks
Damaged fireworks can be unpredictable and can cause injuries. If a shell is damaged, dispose of it properly and don’t ignite it. Wet, damaged, or “dud” fireworks can backfire, causing injury. If a dud occurs, clear the area for 20 minutes. If nothing happens, carefully submerge the firework in a bucket of water and allow it to soak.
Be sure to properly prepare all fireworks according to the directions to prevent mishaps. Never jam a shell into a launch tube if it doesn’t fit. This can damage the shell, and a shell that doesn’t fit can become stuck and not launch properly. Do not alter fireworks except as directed by instructions.
Follow Laws and Common Sense
Follow your local laws regarding fireworks to stay safe and out of legal trouble, and also use some common sense. If the weather or location doesn’t permit safe launches, don’t ignite fireworks. When lighting fireworks, keep the shell away from your body and never lean over them. Maintain at least 20 feet of distance between spectators and small fireworks, and keep a greater distance for larger displays. Obtain any necessary permits required by your area before your celebrations. Laws can help you use fireworks legally, but you will have to judge if the situation is safe as well as legal.
Fireworks can be fun, but they aren’t toys. Use caution when setting them off and be sure to observe all safety guidelines. Be prepared for an emergency, such as a fire. You may not be able to account for every occurrence, but preparing for things to go wrong will allow you to act quickly and prevent further damage.
Many fires and firework-related accidents are preventable with appropriate precautions. If you are injured by another person’s careless use of fireworks, you may be able to file a claim. Our Denver personal injury attorneys are dedicated to recovering your justly deserved compensation, and we have won millions of dollars for our clients. Contact Jordan, Herington & Rowley today to schedule a free case evaluation.